300 liters of jump-start for babies: the women's milk bank at the Winnenden Children's Hospital has been further expanded
Winnenden. Every premature baby should have the chance to be fed naturally with breast milk or donor milk, believes Dr. Janaina Rauch. One woman, one plan, a team success: In July 2020, the senior physician for pediatric and adolescent medicine was delighted that she was able to put her idea of a human milk bank at the perinatal center of the Winnenden Rems-Murr-Klinikum into practice. Demand increased, milk donations increased; on March 3, 2023, a new milk kitchen was opened in the presence of District Administrator Dr. Richard Sigel, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Rems-Murr-Kliniken, and Robert Mayr, Board Member of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation.
The special Winnenden start-up aid for the very youngest is unparalleled in the Stuttgart region: Only three other clinics in Baden-Württemberg can arrange milk donations for premature and newborn babies in a controlled quality and professionally organized. Since 2020, more than 300 liters of valuable superfood have been donated and more than 100 babies have benefited.
"Breast milk is a natural booster that has been proven to support the immune system and health from the first minute of life," says Janaina Rauch, herself a mother of three. "It protects against infections, especially in the particularly sensitive gastrointestinal tract of premature babies, stabilizes the blood sugar level and contributes to a better immune system, which ultimately also reduces the mortality of the very young." Donor milk is fed later, has less to do with cardiovascular diseases, and is better protected against obesity, diabetes and allergies.
Why is the need for donor milk so great? "Most women want to breastfeed, but sometimes it just doesn't work out right away. That's why we don't see our support as a permanent solution, but as a bridging measure. Depending on how mature a baby is, it needs between 10 and 400 milliliters a day, either as valuable raw milk or pasteurized donor milk. Raw milk contains even more valuable ingredients, but requires particularly complex processing, which is why we save this high-quality food for the particularly vulnerable, very young premature babies.”
The human milk bank team takes care of finding milk donors, organizes virological and bacteriological controls and ensures that the anonymised milk samples are properly stored and distributed. Thanks to an increase in staff, regular availability and opening hours of the milk bank are now also guaranteed for external donors - another milestone in the expansion of this facility, which is backed by the Rems-Murr district as the sponsor of the clinics.
District Administrator Dr. Sigel is convinced that every investment in the health of the youngest is worthwhile: “We laid the ideal foundation for our perinatal center in Winnenden in 2014, so that premature babies and newborns can be given excellent care close to where they live. Because this is an important part of our health strategy in the district, we have equipped the center with the best technology and staff and are constantly developing it further. The human milk bank in particular shows that medical strategy is not just about high-tech, but also about good ideas, entrepreneurial spirit and the personal commitment of our employees: this is where this innovation was born, which serves the health of our offspring. We saw how important this is this winter when so many children suffered from serious respiratory infections. That's why we want to do everything we can to enable children to build up their immune defenses naturally."
The managing director of the Rems-Murr-Kliniken, André Mertel, also says: "We are proud that the close cooperation between obstetrics and pediatric medicine in the Winnenden Perinatal Center with the highest possible certification at Level 1 offers maximum safety for mother and baby. The fact that the human milk bank was allowed to develop and grow under this roof as a valuable component of infant nutrition is a nice confirmation for the team around Dr. Rauch, which is committed to this with expertise and passion. And of course our babies born in the Rems-Murr-Klinik Schorndorf are optimally fed with the donor milk if required.”
The breast milk bank hardware includes five new freezers, each holding up to 70 liters. At minus 32 degrees, the milk samples slumber there in the also new milk kitchen on Ward 28, awaiting their use. The expansion was made possible with the help of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, which has been supporting projects for children at the Rems-Murr-Klinik for years - such as a study on the effects of extreme preterm birth on heart and lung function or the development of the socio-pediatric aftercare "Bunter Kreis Rems-Murr". In 2020, four devices for the rapid PCR test could be procured with the help of the foundation.
The breast milk bank is now supported by the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation with 35,000 euros, for which Dr. Janaina Rauch warmly thanked the CEO and founder, Robert Mayr. Mayr emphasized that it was always important to him and his wife Eva Mayr-Stihl to support projects in the health sector that go beyond what is funded by health insurance companies and make a real difference for the patient. "The perinatal center at the Rems-Murr-Klinikum impressed me from the start. Everything should be done to make it easier for these little people to start in life,” said Mayr.
Contact the breast milk bank
The human milk bank in the Rems-Murr-Klinikum Winnenden can be reached from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on 07195 591 41812 or Frauenmilchbank@rems-murr-kliniken.de
You can find a video on the human milk bank here: https://youtu.be/bGxyZ43AZ8c, information on the human milk bank and the Perinatal Center Level 1 at https://www.rems-murr-kliniken.de/medizin/winnenden/neonatologie.html